The Walt Disney Company had spent about $45 million to make Who framed Roger Rabbit and another $10 million on promotion. The film’s popularity grew with the ‘buzz’ of positive reviews and word-of-mouth. To ensure that it found an audience, Disney undertook an aggressive marketing cross-promotion with both Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. As part of those marketing campaigns, a live-action/animation combination television commercial was made for each of Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. Disney shared in the $500,000 production cost. The marketing value of the McDonald’s advertising campaign was estimated to be worth $12 million.
The McDonald’s commercial focused on the promotional offering of three different ‘supersize’ plastic soda cups. It featured scenes from the film, then transitioned to new animation with Jessica and Roger going through a McDonald’s drive-thru in a big black vintage limousine. Jessica reaches out to interact with the McDonald’s employee by taking items offered from the drive-thru window. The limousine speeds away and Jessica and Roger are thrown into the back seat.
McDonald’s ran a Hallowe’en campaign in 1989 that offered ‘Happy Halloween’ certificate book, with coupons redeemable for ice cream cones and sundaes at participating McDonald’s restaurants. It included a mail-in certificate for a Roger Rabbit plush toy with the purchase of the newly released Who framed Roger Rabbit VHS videotape. A television commercial made for the release to the videotape contained new animation of Roger Rabbit poking out from a curtain to lean on his elbows beside a Santa-capped VHS box.